Russia Investigation

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

Peril from foreign interference in American elections will persist through the 2020 presidential race, former special counsel Robert Mueller warned on Wednesday.

Asked whether Russia would attempt to attack future U.S. elections, as it did in 2016, Mueller replied: "They're doing it as we sit here."

Mueller didn't detail a prescription for how he believes Congress or the United States should respond, but he recommended generally that intelligence and law enforcement agencies should work together.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

Former special counsel Robert Mueller is appearing in two separate hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Though Mueller has said his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is his testimony, lawmakers have insisted that he testify in person.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller is testifying before Congress on Wednesday, and lawmakers have so many questions they may not have enough time to ask them all.

The House judiciary and intelligence committees have scheduled hearings for 8:30 a.m. and noon.

Majority Democrats and minority Republicans are expected to try their utmost to get the most good they can from Mueller — in very different ways.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller could have declared whether President Trump broke the law if Mueller had wanted — albeit still without the ability to bring any indictment, Attorney General William Barr says in a new TV interview.

Barr told CBS News in an interview scheduled to air on Thursday evening and Friday morning that he believed Mueller had more latitude to state his views than the special counsel may have permitted himself.

Updated at 1:14 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller stepped down Wednesday after concluding not only one of the highest-profile investigations in recent history, but one of the most distinctive codas in the career of any top Washington official.

Mueller addressed reporters at the Justice Department in his first public statement since taking over the Russia investigation, ending two years of near-silence even under one of the hottest spotlights ever to burn on a public figure.

Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller shut down his Russia investigation on Wednesday in an unusual appearance in which he restated his findings and made clear that he never considered it an option to charge President Trump.

"We are formally closing the special counsel's office," Mueller told reporters at the Justice Department on Wednesday morning.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr declined to appear before a hearing scheduled on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee following hours of sometimes tough back-and-forth on Wednesday in the Senate.

The chairman of the House panel, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said that Barr was risking a contempt of Congress citation and that he would go ahead with his planned hearing — with an empty witness chair if necessary.

Imagine, if you can, a scenario in which Attorney General William Barr declined to put out a four-page letter to Congress describing the Mueller report three weeks ago.

Imagine, too, that he didn't hold a press conference Thursday before the redacted report's release.

Attorney General William Barr said there would be no obstruction of justice charges against the president stemming from the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, which was released in redacted form on Thursday.

But the threshold for charging the president might have been breached, had staffers not resisted his directives to engage in actions that would have impeded the investigation.

While the headlines about special counsel Robert Mueller's report have focused on the question of whether President Trump obstructed justice, the report also gave fresh details about Russian efforts to hack into U.S. election systems.

Members of Congress and the public can finally read what special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators found in their 22-month probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

There is a catch, however: Readers cannot see every word, sentence and paragraph in the massive document.

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET

The Justice Department has released a redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

» A copy of the document is available here.

Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to Congress and the public.

The special counsel spent nearly two years investigating attacks on the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians behind it.

Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

When President Trump learned two years ago that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, he was distraught.

Trump "slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed,' " according to the report by special counsel Robert Mueller that was released Thursday in redacted form.

Updated at 12:33 p.m. EST

The Justice Department says it plans to release special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Thursday morning. Here's what you need to know.

What is it?

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr has launched his own informal inquiry about the origins of the Russia investigation, he confirmed to senators on Wednesday.

Barr told members of a Senate Appropriations Committee panel that he wants to understand how and why key decisions were made about the counterintelligence investigation opened by the FBI in the summer of 2016.

He said he isn't "putting a panel together" and the effort may not result in a criminal investigation or the finding of a crime.

Updated at 11:31 p.m. ET

Editor's note: NPR has decided in this case to spell out a vulgar word that the president used because it meets our standard for use of offensive language: It is "absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told."

At his Thursday night rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., President Trump and his supporters were in a celebratory mood.

Updated at 10:03 a.m. ET

The release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report may provide Americans with the best playbook yet on how to defend democracy in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.

There were two headline "principal conclusions" out of Attorney General William Barr's publicly released letter to Congress about the now-concluded Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller:

  1. It "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Leaders of the Justice Department have sent a summary of Robert Mueller's main findings to key members of Congress. The special counsel's office completed its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on Friday.

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that President Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to a summary of findings submitted to Congress by Attorney General William Barr.

"The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," Barr wrote in a letter to leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees on Sunday afternoon.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr received a report on Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller about the findings from Mueller's investigation into the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

The testimony on Wednesday from Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer who is headed to federal prison in early May, was a potentially seminal moment in the myriad investigations into the Trump administration House Democrats are expected to launch now that they control the chamber.

Updated at 11:49 p.m. ET

Donald Trump apparently blessed the meeting his son held with a Russian delegation to get dirt on opponents in 2016 and welcomed advance word of efforts by WikiLeaks to disrupt the election, his former lawyer told Congress.

The Russia investigation could be on the verge of a spectacular finale — or it could be about to puff out like a damp firecracker.

Or, as has been the case so often before, Washington could be gearing itself up for a fireworks display that doesn't even happen. Despite some indications that special counsel Robert Mueller could be wrapping up, there has been no official word from the Justice Department confirming that's so.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is "close to being completed," Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said on Monday.

Whitaker said he has been fully briefed about Mueller's work and that he is looking forward to reviewing a final report.

"I hope that we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible," he said.

The acting attorney general's comments were a rare official indication of any kind from within the Justice Department about Mueller's work.

The Justice Department added another piece to the puzzle of its Russia investigation on Friday with charges against GOP political consultant Roger Stone — but the full picture still isn't complete.

Stone was arrested in Florida following an indictment by a grand jury working with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Updated at 5:17 p.m. ET

President Trump's choice to lead the Justice Department, William Barr, took questions from lawmakers Tuesday, with the central one being whether Barr will work to impede the Russia investigation.

Barr, who previously served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first day of his confirmation hearing.

Updated at 9:47 a.m. ET

Each new dawn seems to bring a major new headline in the Russia investigation, including a number of important courtroom developments this month.

Here's what you need to know about what has happened so far this week in this often complex and fast-moving saga.

Michael Cohen is going to prison, but he says he isn't finished yet

Last week in the Russia investigations: The special counsel ties up loose ends, but that may not mean the finish line is any closer.

Endings and beginnings

Never mind that it still isn't fully clear what the Russia imbroglio is — what picture all the puzzle pieces are supposed to form when they're put together.

An even more basic question that's just as difficult to answer is: How much longer will it go?

Pages